Keys to Rearranging Text in Word and Outlook

Every version of Microsoft Word has allowed us to move documents text with the keyboard. However, in recent years the mouse has become the weapon of choice when slinging text around. The tip that follows is something you may want to consider adding to your arsenal.

Move Text in a Document

In Word, you can take a paragraph, or a selection of paragraphs, and move it either before a previous paragraph or after a subsequent paragraph with only the keyboard — without using cut and paste!

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in a paragraph. (Or, select multiple paragraphs.)
  2. Press and hold the Alt and Shift keys.
  3. Press the up arrow or the down arrow.

If you pressed the up arrow, the paragraph, or selected blocks of text, swaps positions with the paragraph before it.

It Works in Tables

This trick also works on Word tables. You can take a single row, or selection of rows, and move it up or down in a table by following the same steps above. If you find yourself working in tables often, this trick has the potential to save you hours of work.

It Works in Outlook, Too

If you use Outlook and have Word set as your editor, these same tricks work in Outlook messages. You'll be able to take text or table rows and move them around in a draft message without taking your hands of the keyboard.

Use Ben Schorr's Trick to Jump Across Paragraphs

On Twitter, Ben Schorr shared a tip to jump through documents, paragraph by paragraph. Press Ctrl and the up arrow or down arrow.